Making the decision to join RSM at the end of this summer was surprisingly easy for me. Not only was I presented with an opportunity to join an organization with a great reputation, client-base, workforce, and future, but I also was able to return to working with Microsoft Dynamics AX.
Earlier in my career I had spent 5 years implementing the Microsoft Dynamics AX product. Subsequent to that, I spent 4 years working with the Lawson M3 ERP. In that process, I have become extremely familiar with two manufacturing and distribution based ERP systems. As a result, I developed an appreciation for the fact that although various ERP packages might seem to offer the same features, there are many differences either in available functionality or the method in which processes are executed.
I knew that AX was great, but when I started working with it again after my hiatus with Lawson M3, I was exposed for the first time to AX2012. I am beyond impressed with what Microsoft has done with the product over the last several years. For starters, the workflow is light-years beyond anything I have ever seen before. A simple, graphical, drag-and-drop representation of how the company wants to operate is presented such that any user with access can develop these processes. You do not need to be a programmer, developer, or have a vast knowledge of the inner-workings of the system. For example, in order to set an approval limit on a Purchase Order, just drag the approval function over to the Purchase Order icon, type in the dollar amount, and point an arrow to the employee name who will approve purchases over that dollar amount. The approval level is then active and imbedded in the system processes.
The second thing I worked with and was very pleased to see was an easy-to-use product configuration tool. In the manufacturing and distribution world, not all items a company can create or offer can be represented by a finite list of items. For this reason there must be a method to configure an item based on customer selections of various options and then generate a standard cost and estimated price. The user friendly configuration tool in Dynamics AX2012 is a breath of fresh air. Clients will be able to update and expand their own configuration models without the help of an IT person or system expert.
Although I could go on and on, I’m going for a blog here and not a book, so the last bit of functionality that I will rave about is the interface with the Microsoft Office Suite. With a click of a mouse, any user can export a data set they are viewing into Microsoft Excel. CRM users find it refreshing that their contacts, tasks, and appointments synchronize from the AX system to their Outlook calendar and contacts, which then synchronizes to their mobile devices. And all users appreciate that the look and feel of the system matches the familiar Microsoft Office and Windows features and navigation that they have all become familiar with through everyday computer use.
To close, even outside of the offerings of the software itself, I am very pleased and proud to be working within the support structure that RSM and Microsoft provide to their clients. Whether it is during an implementation or ongoing support, I know that our clients have the support of the 7,000 professionals at RSM as well as the vast knowledge base that a great company like Microsoft provides. The online live training, tutorials, and published documentation that has been published by Microsoft far exceeds that of any application I have ever worked with. Beyond that, I continue to be impressed by the considerable number of knowledgeable people who are available and willing to help customers get the best value out of their systems.
Sharing the excitement of all the features of AX and having the implementations welcomed and cheered by the clients is all the evidence I need to know it was a good decision to come back to Dynamics AX.
By: John Hannan, RSM -